Raleigh joins ranks of cities with no costly parking mandates

Raleigh, North Carolina became the 24th North American city confirmed to have eliminated minimum car parking requirements for most land-uses citywide. In a 7-1 vote on March 15th, 2022, Raleigh City Council approved a series of zoning amendments which flipped existing parking minimums to parking maximums, established bicycle parking requirements, and imposed environmental mitigations for any new developments which include excess parking.

The proposal was only lightly opposed with tired talking points from one community member and city councilor. But their admonishments and warnings were readily eclipsed by an excellent presentation from staff City Planner Jason Harden, well informed testimony by apprentice architect Jenn Truman, and fantastic supporting comments from Council Member Jonathan Melton and Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Stewart.

Jenn Truman testifies in support of eliminating costly parking mandates.

Staff and supporters of the parking reforms made the case that parking mandates contributed to the climate crisis and a lack of abundant affordable housing. Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Stewart made the case that ending parking minimums was not a radical approach, but rather was “listed as one of the lowest hanging fruit on recommended climate policy solutions” and is a “solution that costs the taxpayers nothing.”

Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Stewart supports parking reforms.

Innovative Mitigations for Excess Parking

Other municipalities should take a close look at the approach Raleigh has taken to parking maximums. Rather than set hard caps on the amount of parking new projects can contain, which might discourage or prevent developments, the city allows developers to exceed maximums, provided they take steps to mitigate the impacts of additional car parking.

In the urban parts of Raleigh, parking in excess of the maximum must be in a parking structure, 20% of it must be available to the general public or another property, and any requirements for EV ready stalls will be increased by 50 percent for these stalls.. These requirements aim to reduce runoff, heat effects, and wasted space.

Outside of urban areas, additional EV readiness is required for excess stalls and those spaces must either be in structures or contain landscaping and stormwater mitigations.

You can learn more about the specifics of the policy on the city detail page for Raleigh for our Parking Mandates Map or by watching Jason Harden’s presentation to Raleigh City Council.

Will Your City Be Next?

Parking reforms are sensible, simple, and effective policy changes to combat climate change, encourage abundant and affordable housing, and support cities with safe, sustainable transportation options for all.

Raleigh is just one, excellent, example of how to frame and implement a proposal to eliminate parking minimums. Learn about hundreds of other reforms to parking mandates on our map.

The Parking Reform Network exists to support advocates and practitioners in any field with “parking problems.” Support the network or become a member today.

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